Due to slight differences in topography, ocean currents and other factors, some regions have more shark teeth available than others. Shark teeth can be found in large numbers in areas that were submerged under sea level recently, like Florida. Many shark teeth are fossils from long ago, when sea level was higher and the coastline much farther inland. Modern shark teeth are found near areas prone to shark activity, and it can be very dangerous.
Identify regional hotspots
The North and South Carolina coastlines, the Florida Gulf coastline, parts of the Texan coastline and even parts of the Californian coast are well known for shark teeth discoveries. They are also found along a few river banks and tidal basins near the ocean in parts of New England and sections of Maryland and New Jersey.
Narrow your search
If you are in an area where shark teeth are known to be found, you can narrow your search by asking locals for tips, checking surfing and scuba online message boards and leafing through guide books. Remember that some areas most known for shark teeth may be thoroughly picked over. In this case, searching in the early morning or after a storm can increase your odds.
During your search, don't forget to consider what kinds of shark teeth are likely to be found. Is the area generally known for fossilized or modern shark teeth? Are huge Megalodon teeth present? The majority of shark teeth found will be small but can be fossilized or modern. All shark teeth vary greatly in size, shape and form. Recent shark teeth will be white, whereas most fossilized teeth appear gray or black. Use a shark tooth manual or online directory to get an idea of shark tooth variety. These tools will be useful to later help identify your findings.
Look On the beach
The best beaches for shark tooth hunting will have stronger currents and higher tides. Seek areas closer to an inlet. Look for spots that have fossils, bones and remains washed up along the beach. High tides will drag in fossils and pebbly materials. Wait until low tide to sift through materials. Search through gravelly patches near the wash. Depending on the area and shark teeth available, they might appear as shiny black or gray jewels, though modern teeth will appear white. They can be triangular or needle-like. Hunting in good sunlight will help your eyes look for the reflective, polished surface of the tooth. For a more systematic approach, bring a sieve to sift through the gravel or sand. Using a trowel can speed up the process.
You can also look in the wash for shark teeth. Because they are slightly lighter in weight than the pebbles surrounding them, shark teeth will be one of the last things to settle as a wave retreats. If looking down at a patch of pebbles in the wash, search for a slight bit of movement as the wave moves away.
About the Author
Marynia Kolak is an interdisciplinary writer with a science background. Her articles have appeared in the Buzz, the examiner.com, and Environmental Resources. She has picked microfossils and constructed maps in state and federal geological surveys. Kolak received her Bachelor of Science in geology, and is a candidate in an Master of Fine Arts creating writing program. She lives in Chicago.